Friday, May 7, 2010

If You Want to See the World Choose the Hospitality Profession

I realize that nearly the entire planet has been discovered and we cannot turn back the clock and be like Christopher Columbus and find a new continent just like that , but working in the Hospitality Industry you can do your own exploring when it comes time to choosing your place to work.

It almost always never turns out as you plan it but the experience helps you grow in so many ways. First it helps you understand how other people live and gives you a sense of accomplishment when overcoming challenges that most people would not be willing to go through. Sort of like Columbus would have gone through when he crossed the ocean back in 1492.

One example for me happened back in 1990. I had just returned from Switzerland having completed my two years there and was eager to return back to Europe any way I could. Finding out about a UK Grandparent Visa which allowed grandchildren of UK descent to work there , I mailed away for a photocopy birth certificate of one of them so I could apply for a visa.

It took in all quite a bit of time to obtain the visa so when I flew to London I had only about 600 British pounds on me and three suitcases. Brimming with confidence I thought I had it all figured out. There was a trade magazine I knew of that was packed with hotel and restaurant jobs. I figured as soon as the jet landed I would find a Bed and Breakfast in London , make a few phone calls and set up some interviews and by week’s end have myself a great job.

The jet landed early in the morning so when I grabbed my three heavy bags I was really in no mood to shop for the most economical place to stay nor take the Tube. A taxi would do just fine , thank you.

On the tourist board there was a list of Bed and Breakfast establishments around the Paddington station area so I jumped into a taxi and wouldn’t you know it but the taxi ride cost me about 40 pounds. The one thing I should have calculated was how expensive the UK was compared to Canada! Almost a tenth of what I had gone in a taxi ride.

I cannot remember off hand what the B and B was per night but it was not Buckingham Palace. A funny thing happened one night when the inn was robbed. Someone had managed to steal and replicate the master key to all the rooms. When the robber was making the rounds he opened up my locked door and woke me up. He excused himself and said he had the wrong room and closed the door. I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. Next morning I heard the news many rooms were robbed.

The 600 pounds went like that as England was a lot more expensive than I thought it was and the jobs were not as quickly found as I first thought they would be.
I ended up working in Ashford Kent at a hotel that was opening to take advantage of the Chunnel that was being built at the time and the business it would bring. It was an exciting opportunity as an Assistant Conference and Banqueting Manager to train a new staff and help during it’s launch.

Subsequently I was able to help out in the Dining Room afterwards but the real reward was having gone through something unforgettable. I only spent up to 6 months there as I was completely broke having started at the hotel living off a credit card.

But to start with just a destination and not knowing what could really transpire was something that someone who is single , living out of a suitcase , and with a plane ticket could only experience.

I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart , or for people who need everything exactly perfect before they start something. But if you are like a Columbus and want to explore new worlds , the Hospitality Industry can provide that opportunity.

His motivational speakingengagements are both funny and informative. Find out more about Steve Nicolle at his website which is at